God designed the church to operate without help from outside and inferior movements or institutions. However, churches have become addicted to or dependent upon these. If scripture is sufficient, and it is, then we don't need them. But how do we cope without them?
I understand the thought process behind sending children to Christian college or university. Christian parents don't want their children learning the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2). It is why pastors organize church schools or encourage home schooling for their church members. But what should the high school graduates do?
Churches have colleges too. And a church college doesn't need fundamentalism. If your church fellowships with that church, your high school graduates could attend that college. The church itself is judged based upon its belief and practice.
What I have concluded from the Bible is that parents in cooperation with their church are responsible for raising children until adulthood. There are three necessities for Christian parents---character, marriage, and fulfilling the role. Character assumes salvation. Parents can network with churches of like faith and practice for a pool of possible marriage candidates for their children. And then we have the fulfillment of role. I say fulfillment of role, because our girls shouldn't be the ones responsible for breadwinning. That should be our boys. The girls should at least learn to be homemakers. We are serious about training our girls in that.
So as parents we've got to take responsibility for equipping our boys to earn a living. I'm not talking about character on that. Do they have some skill that will enable them to provide for a family? I see that is what college is for. In certain cases, I understand that eighteen year olds finish high school and still don't have character. A church college looks very attractive for the young person who doesn't have the character to make it any way else. I'm afraid this is often most of the boys and girls that reach eighteen years of age in our churches. They are too immature for anything but a church college. So college may be a continuation of character training, training suitable to help insure that a boy or girl will live right.
Churches have so depended on colleges to instill character to immature young people, that I believe this has become the primary purpose of college for them. They aren't really learning how to earn a living, except for perhaps earning a living by being a missionary, pastor, or Christian school teacher. I don't believe those are ways for our boys to foresee earning a living. This is one way we've got into trouble today with the Bible college movement. Our kids get out of college and they can't do anything to earn a living, so we have a generation of dependents that need to be taken care of by a church. And if they can't get a job in a church, they can't get a very good job, hardly one that will earn a living in the world. A man should not look at a church or churches as a means of earning a living.
Some will say, "God will take care of His own." That's true. He will. But how does He do that? He does that by parents taking the responsibility for teaching their boys how to earn a living.
I see college as the means for that third part, the fulfilling of the role. Sure, our boys and girls can go off to a church college. Or a church could start its own. There are other options. If college is a way to learn to earn a living, a boy can stay at a local junior college or college or university and do that. The key, I believe, is for him to attend where his church is or where there is a fellowshiping church, one just like his church.
I've talked to many men about what I'm writing about here. I know of some Christian kids who have gone to state college and have found out that their Christian school has not done a very good job of teaching them math and science. And when I say science, I don't mean evolution. I mean physics and chemistry. The church school grads find out that they are way behind in math and science in the state school and they can't cope with the work. They also might not do so well on the ACT test, and not just because of the multiculturalism that exists in the government testing. That's not the only criticism I believe we should have of much of Christian education, but it is enough for you to get my drift.
The above is a tough situation for us. We want our children to live for God, have Christian character and marry the right person. We might give them a good work ethic that will allow them to earn enough of a living without higher education. That would be better than losing them. But that also should lead us to consider what we're doing with our children in our home and church. Are we thoroughly training them in the true gospel so they are genuinely converted? Is it real Christianity that is being resembled in our churches? That is the real problem and not the absence of the church college. If our children understood their true reason for being on earth, they could function as a minister within the context of a local college while still operating as a member of our church or one just like ours. From what I hear, the church colleges are receiving more and more immature, with even greater immaturity, from the churches. The churches knew their kids would "go to Bible college." By the time they get through with college, they can't earn a living, but now they've got enough character perhaps to function in the real world.
Hopefully a boy who finishes college could make a decent enough living in secular society, that he would not be a dependent on other people or his church. I understand that some of you reading this might be thinking---but what about our girls? That's a longer discussion. And I have right now a 16 (17 in two weeks), a 13, and a 10 year old girl. The boy is finishing up his second year at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
But what about pastors and missionaries and Christian school teachers? Your church should be able to produce those, especially out of people who have a good education. I've found that a college can't produce a teacher. Learning to teach doesn't come from a college. Other important learning can come from a college, but not how to teach. To learn how to teach, you've got to teach. I believe you want your future pastors to be men who already know how to earn a living. We don't live in an age where every church can provide enough an income for its pastor. We need pastors who can do both, like we see in the very beginning of our country. The need for support is a motivation for many pastors to cut corners and compromise for church growth. A man who can already provide has a foundation for waiting on God in his ministry philosophy.
And is the biblical model for us to raise every last bit of monetary support for missionaries? Of course not. Not at all. We need to get our church members back to the mentality of tent making. We need men who can do both on a field, work and evangelize and make disciples, like the example of Paul. Paul held himself up as an example to the church of Thessalonica as that model.
Pastors themselves ought to be well enough trained that they could train their own new pastors. It ought to be the norm for the pastor to be the Bible scholar. That standard can be emulated. I tell our guys that we want to make our cake from scratch, not from mix. If you can do that, then you can train your own men. And that also is the biblical model.
Colleges have been one of the resources that have tied men into fundamentalism, unnecessarily so. You can use them, but you don't need them. If you have no need for the colleges, you won't need that part of fundamentalism either.